'This was a country of corpses and orphans and terrible absences. This was where the spirit withered.' So begins Fergal Keane's powerful account of the Rwandan genocide, in which more than a million people have been killed. Keane's book is a memoir of what he calls a terrible voyage: a deeply personal account of an encounter with evil. He tells the story of a journey in which he and his BBC colleagues tracked down one of the most notorious mass murderers of the conflict and escaped massacre by Hutu extremists. He examines how tens of thousands of ordinary Hutus were mobilized by their political leaders to massacre members of the Tutsi minority, as well as moderate Hutu politicians. Keane rejects the widely held perception that Rwanda's slaughter was the simple consequence of tribal antagonisms. Instead he blames unscrupulous politicians for fomenting ethnic rivalry and planning a systematic campaign of genocide. Season of Blood is a harrowing story told by a reporter who travelled into the heart of the horror. 'It changed everybody. The survivors most of all of course. But also the doctors, the aid workers, the priests, the journalists. We had learned something about the soul of man which would leave us with nightmares long into the future.'. This is not a comfortable book. It will shock and disturb. But it is a necessary book, telling a story that must be told.
Winner of Britain's Orwell Prize for best political book of 1995, this searing, impassioned eyewitness account of the genocide of Rwanda's Tutsi minority by Hutu extremists dispels a number of media-sustained myths surrounding the slaughter in 1994 of a million people. BBC reporter and documentary filmmaker Keane saw absolutely no evidence to support the widely held belief that the Tutsiswho once comprised Rwanda's ruling class, abetted by German and Belgian colonialistsare lighter-skinned than Hutus. Contrary to the view that mutual hatred between tribes spontaneously erupted into irrational violence, he demonstrates that the killings were planned well in advance by a clique close to Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana. Bitterly resentful of the prospect of sharing power with the Tutsis, this clique created its own civilian militia and mounted a virulent propaganda campaign scapegoating Tutsis. The principal architects of the genocide found a haven in Zaire and Tanzania. Blaming the U.S., the European Community and the U.N. for failing to halt mass murder, Keane calls on the international community to assist Rwanda's new government, formed after the death of Habyarimana in a plane crash in April 1994. (July)